Saturday, December 15, 2012

Having a birthday the week before Christmas was already a bummer.

Having a birthday the week before Christmas sucks. I would like to think that, had I realized Max would be born 10 days before Christmas, we might have waited until April for that procedure at the fertility clinic.

But I would be lying to myself.

I was so desperate for a child that it didn't matter to me when he would be born. I wanted to get pregnant. I wanted to stay pregnant. I wanted to give birth to my biological child, one that I conceived with the person I had chosen as the father of my future children. 

We try to make up for the whole "born right before Christmas" thing, a situation that is only slightly better than the whole "born right after Christmas" thing, which is a scenario that virtually guarantees 2-fer gifting (or regifting) and having no one in town for your birthday party.

We always have his gifts wrapped in birthday paper. We always have a party. (Even if it is 2 weeks before his actual birthday, to ensure people actually show up.) Relatives have been threatened with excommunication if they send one gift for both holidays. But more than just the material trappings of the birthday, we also go far beyond the norm in terms of being grateful. 

I was not able to get pregnant - or stay pregnant - on my own. I had Princess Kate-style morning sickness. I spent the first half of my pregnancy afraid I would miscarry, and the second half knowing that there was something wrong with my baby, the extent of which was yet to be determined. From pre-term labor to excessive weight gain to extreme fatigue and nausea, and then looming at the end the surgery, everything else paled in comparison. It didn't matter what time of year he was born, just that he was born and that everything went okay and in the end, that we had a healthy child.

Between the gratitude, and the fact that Max was born during the holidays, his birthday has always been a bit of a production. Not gift wise - we don't do huge presents and extravagant parties - but it's always very celebrated, to make sure it is not lumped in with all of the rest of the holiday festivities. And now - right now - it is all systems go. He will have his party and his fun. But I know that in the back of my mind, I will be thinking of the parents in Newtown who might have had a birthday party planned that will not take place. So we are celebrating a little extra-hard. We are going to be furiously happy because we have been given the opportunity. Because the opportunity has not been taken away.

And I am really glad I got him a cellphone for his birthday. I want to be able to call him and hear his voice and know that he is okay. I wan him to be able to call me if he has a question or a concern. And to see the joy on his face when he opened the box and saw the very unexceptional basic phone that I had told him repeatedly he didn't need and wouldn't get for years..... made me grin like an idiot.

Don't get me wrong. Its still real life over here. I'm not shitting rainbows and tossing glitter, I just yelled at Max because he didn't brush his teeth, and Sam came out of the bathroom to inform him that he still needed to flush the toilet, even if it was his birthday. But underneath all of the realness is the remembering. We are lucky, and grateful, and will never take the unflushed toilets and unbrushed teeth for granted.

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